Mann takes it to the matt


Junior Jake Mann crouches at the edge of the wrestling mat. His gaze purposely averted down as to avoid eye contact with his opponent across the mat. He nervously waits for the familiar whistle to sound. The few seconds before a match starts seem to last an eternity. The quiet before the storm as they call it. After what feels like years the whistle sounds signaling the start of the match. Both competitors look up and bound towards each other interlocking the middle. For Jake the next few minutes go by in a blur. It’s a whirlwind of emotions for the spectators. Its like both wrestlers are playing a full body game of tug of war. They tear the lead away from each other, never giving the other room to breathe. They continue like this until Jake gets the upper hand. He seizes the opportunity, quickly locking his opponent. The ref approaches and begins to count, before long the match is over.  

While this type of competition might seem crazy to some, it’s the norm for Jake Mann, who has been wrestling for over ten years at this point. 

“My older brother got me into wrestling at 6 years old when he started as a freshman in high school, and at 9 years old I decided to quit soccer and baseball and just focus on wrestling,” Mann said.

During these ten long years Jake has picked up quite the skillset. These skills even helped him achieve what at one point was a far fetched dream, winning state. 

“Winning a state title as a sophomore was crazy. While in the grand scheme of wrestling as a sport, it’s not all that crazy, it was still a huge personal accomplishment of mine and hopefully the first of many more dreams coming true,” Mann said. 

Wrestling, being the worldwide juggernaut that it is, has a plethora of championships and titles for a would be champion to earn, as Jake mentioned he’s nowhere close to being done collecting championships.

“In the near future I hope to make it to, and hopefully win an NCAA D1 National Champion. Long term you’ve got to plan big, so of course the dream would be to be an Olympic Champion,” Mann said. 

Jake’s passion for wrestling extends of the mat as he often finds himself advocating for the benefits of wrestling to outsiders. 

“I feel that wrestling is a misunderstood sport with a lot of people not taking it too seriously. For me though, it’s a sport where I am responsible for my own success. There is no one except me and my opponent on the mat. I alone, control my destiny and that is what makes wrestling such a great sport,” Mann said. 

Overall wrestling a sport which requires a lot of discipline to succeed in, but if you put in the work, as Jake has, great things will come.

 “Everyone should try to wrestle, and while it might not be for everyone. Anyone who wants to develop mental discipline and learn the value of hard work should absolutely join wrestling,” Mann said.